Film / From Russia with Love
From Russia with love, I fly to you...

"Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one."
Number One, head of SPECTRE

The one with the knife-shoe.

After the President of the United States listed From Russia with Love as his 9th favourite book, it became clear to EON which novel they were going to adapt next.

This film, the second James Bond film, involves 007 having to escort a defector from Commie Land (more specifically the USSR) to the West. Of course, she's female.

Notable scenes in this film:

This film and its title are so well known that variations on the title are common as newspaper headlines for articles to do with Russia. A London exhibition of pre-Red October Russian art, sponsored by the Russian government, couldn't resist a gag, calling itself From Russia.

Over 40 years later the film was adapted into a video game for 6th-generation consoles, 007: From Russia with Love, with Sean Connery reprising his iconic role for the first time in decades.

The movie is typically considered one of the best, if not the best of the Bond franchise. One filmmaker notes that almost every Bond movie production starts out trying to make the next From Russia with Love and ends up being the next Thunderball. Connery cites it as his personal favourite of the Bond films he made, and it was also the last one Ian Fleming saw before his 1964 death.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The very first, though with Bait-and-Switch as the Bond there is just a masked mook.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Kerim in the book is a very dark gray Unscrupulous Hero who raped a woman as a teenage hoodlum and shoots an unarmed, fleeing opponent in the back, among other things. Here, he's a much more likable Lovable Rogue.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The book is generally regarded as one of Fleming's best, but many of the changes for the film are still considered good decisions - the book's unusual format (where the entire first third is SMERSH planning their konspiratsia, following Grant, Klebb and finally Romanova before Bond ever turns up) is distilled into a much shorter sequence; there's more Scenery Porn in Istanbul and events are slightly reordered so Bond plays a greater role in the action; Kerim isn't a creepy sexual predator; the sequence on the Orient Express gives Bond slightly less of an Idiot Ball moment when he realises "Nash" isn't who he says he is, and the changed ending neatly resolves what happens to Klebb, Kronsteen and Tatiana.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the book Tatiana had black hair. In the film she has blonde hair.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The "SPEKTOR" cryptography machine from the novel becomes the "LEKTOR" in the film, probably to avoid confusion with the villainous organization "SPECTRE".
  • Agents Dating: SMERSH (in the book) and SPECTRE (in the movie) cook up a plan to kill Bond with Tatiana Romanova, a KGB enlisted woman. He knows it's a trap but goes along with it, because (aside from the obvious reasons) it comes with a chance to steal the valuable encoding device.
  • Armed Legs: Rosa Klebb has poisoned blades contained in her shoes.
  • As You Know: Kronsteen's dialogue to Blofeld at the beginning is basically this, as he essentially recaps the ending of Dr. No, mentions that M is the head of British intelligence, and that they have an agent named James Bond who was responsible for killing Dr. No. All information Blofeld most certainly would have been aware of, but which viewers who may not have seen Dr. No yet might not be, especially as neither Bond nor M appear on screen until about 15 minutes into the picture.
  • Bad Boss: Blofeld establishes himself as one when he has Kronsteen killed via poisoned dagger.
  • Batman Gambit: Bond plays on Grant's greed and suspicion to get him to open the booby-trapped case. The bribe gets him interested, but when Bond too-quickly grabs the second suitcase, Grant insists on opening it himself in case there's a weapon there.
  • Belly Dancer: In the gypsy camp, as well as the opening credits.
  • Big Bad: Rosa Klebb. While she is working under Blofeld, she is still the primary villain of this movie.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Bond tells Moneypenny he'd never look at another woman.
    • Karim Bey tells Bond the bomb blast didn't kill him because he was relaxing on the sofa.
  • Blofeld Ploy: Trope Namer and Trope Codifier, all in one convenient package. Also an Unbuilt Trope — like all examples actually featuring Blofeld, he kills the man he actually thinks is responsible for the mess. He is wrong, since it was Klebb's man Red Grant who actually stuffed things up, but a) Neither he, Klebb or Kronsteen knew that, b) That was still more Grant's fault personally than Klebb's, and c) Kronsteen was being an ass. Also deviates from the usual in that it's Morzeny who executes Kronsteen, on Blofeld's (implied) orders.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • "She should have kept her mouth shut"; "She's had her kicks."
    • There's also "I'd say one of their aircraft is missing", which for younger viewers falls almost nonsensically flat, but it's a reference to One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, or at least to the wartime phrase it's based on. It was still a relevant and clever reference in 1963, and that was the target audience.
  • Bound and Gagged: Grant to a Russian mook.
  • Cat Fight: The fight between two Gypsy girls.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the train after telling 'Nash' (really Red Grant) and Tatiana to go to dinner, Bond searches Nash's things which includes his briefcase (with Bond carefully opening it the same way Q instructed at the beginning of the film, indicating the briefcase is the same as Bond's own). Later on when he has Bond at gunpoint, Grant forces Bond to open up his own briefcase to retrieve the gold sovereigns he offered (which Bond does without incident). Then Grant asks about the 'other' case ...
    • Come to that, practically everything in the magic attache case ends up being used - it's a Chekhov's Armoury. Chekhov's Sniper Rifle, Chekhov's Throwing Knife, Chekhov's Fifty Gold Sovereigns, Chekhov's Tear Gas Cartridge...which becomes standard for Bond adventures, where every blessed gadget Q gives him is going to be needed before the closing credits.
    • The lethal effects of the shoe knife are first demonstrated on Kronsteen, so the audience knows what will happen if Klebb lands a kick on Bond.
      Blofeld: Twelve seconds. One day we must devise a faster-acting venom.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In a SPECTRE meeting, Kronsteen mentions "the killing of our operative, Dr. No".
    • Sylvia Trench reappears, once again denied a romance with Bond as he's called away on a mission. This was meant to be a Running Gag throughout the series, but the character was dropped after this film. One could argue that Moneypenny played out that gag, in her own way.
  • Creator Cameo: Some reports maintain that Ian Fleming appears standing next to the Orient Express train. He is wearing grey trousers and a white jumper and stands on the platform to the right side of the train. Some sources deny that this is him.
  • Deadly Training Area: A villainous example:
    Rosa Klebb: Training is useful, but there is no substitute for experience.
    Morzeny: I agree. We use live targets as well.
    • And we even see one mook dodging blasts from a flamethrower.
  • Death by Adaptation: Kronsteen.
  • Dirty Communists: Subverted. The original Fleming story had them, but most were changed to agents of the supranational criminal union SPECTRE, running a False Flag Operation.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The guard at the gypsy camp is knifed because he's watching the belly dancer.
    • Bond stays focused on the mission despite Tatiana constantly hitting on him, though Kerim Bey enjoys suggesting that he's not as impervious as he's making out.
    • Fortunately Kerim falls for this trope, leaving his desk to 'relax' with his girl just when a bomb detonates on the other side of the wall.
  • The Dragon: Red Grant is one for Rosa Klebb, who in turn is one for Blofeld.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Grant is more dangerous and has more presence than Klebb, who only recruits Grant and Tatiana, films Bond and Tatiana, sends Morzeny after Bond and Tatiana, and tries one last time to get the Lektor in Venice, getting owned by Bond with a chair before Tatiana shoots her.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Q is quite a bit more respectful toward Bond while explaining the attache case's gadgets. Q's relationship with Bond is not cemented until the next movie.
    • Bond gets a Travel Montage during his trip on the Orient Express.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Grant is introduced hunting down and killing a fake James Bond in a training exercise, demonstrating his cunning and brutality.
    • Blofeld's introduction to the franchise has him monologue about Siamese fighting fish, comparing them to SPECTRE. He's also shown giving orders to his subordinates, explicitly mentioning that Bond's death should be "a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one". His second and final scene in the film, where he has Kronsteen killed, establishes his Bad Boss tendencies, fondness for sadistic ploys, and his status as The Dreaded.
  • Evil Gloating: Lampshaded, by the gloater himself no less.
    Grant: I don't mind talking. I get a kick out of watching the great James Bond find out what a bloody fool he's been making of himself.
  • The Faceless: Blofeld. According to Lucky Number Slevin, this is what makes him the best Blofeld - "That's when the villain is most effective - when you don't know what he looks like." The credits even refuse to tell us the actor's name, and simply feature a question mark. For the record, the body is Anthony Dawson (Professor Dent from the previous film) and the voice was Eric Pohlmann.
  • Fake Defector: What Tatiana is told her mission is to be.
  • False Flag Operation: A shtick of Blofeld and SPECTRE. As part of his long-term Evil Plan to Take Over the World, Blofeld is Playing Both Sides.
    • SPECTRE pretends to be the KGB to steal the Lektor and destroy Bond.
    • SPECTRE performs one as the British early in the film, killing one of the Bulgarian drivers who work for the Soviets. This causes the Soviets to heat up the normally routine observations both sides play in Istanbul.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Tatiana Romanova.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Bond first grows suspicious of Red Grant when he orders a glass of red Chianti (nonspecific red wine in the videogame adaptation) with fish, at the time a major faux pas for wine lovers. A case of Cuisine Marches On: nowadays, it's not a faux pas to drink red wine with fish or white with meat (there's a number of white wines that go very well with some particular kinds of meat, and a number of red wines that mix perfectly with fish.) Some professional sommeliers' opinions can be found here.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Blofeld is this here. He's not directly active in the plot this time, but it's clear that him and the rest of SPECTRE are a much bigger threat that Bond will have to face in the future.
  • Grenade Launcher: Rifle grenades are used to try and force Bond to stop in the speedboat chase.
  • Groin Attack: Klebb literally tries to kill Bond at the end by kicking him in the crotch with her poison tipped shoe.
  • The Heavy: Donald "Red" Grant drives the plot from when Bond arrives in Istanbul to the journey on the Orient Express.
  • Hellish Copter: The first Bond-attacked-by-helicopter scene.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Grant is throttled with his own wristwatch-garotte.
  • Hollywood Darkness: When Bond knocks out the mook sent to pick up Grant.
  • Honey Trap: Tatiana's purpose. Of course, because it's James Bond, she falls in love with him anyway.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Two of them. They end up together in James's bed.
  • I Am Very British: While masquerading as Nash, Grant puts on a British accent and peppers his speech with stereotypical Briticisms in an attempt to maintain his cover. Lampshaded by Bond once he's caught on to the ruse.
    James Bond:You won't be needing this, 'Old man'
  • Ikea Weaponry: Bond uses an ArmaLite AR-7 Explorer as a Sniper Rifle. It's only .22 calibre, but the ranges at which it's used this doesn't cause a problem.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: Justified because the British and Russian agents in Instanbul tail each other as a matter of course, and no secret is made of it.
  • Insert Cameo: The hand that writes "From Russia, with love" on the photograph belongs to director Terence Young.
  • Just Between You and Me: Bond actually works out SPECTRE's plan entirely by himself (once he's told it is SPECTRE, that is), but Red Grant is perfectly happy to fill in the details while he has him cornered at gunpoint.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Kronsteen's plan works on British Intelligence believing it's a KGB trap and thinking they can outsmart the Soviets anyway.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Grant orders Bond to be on his knees when he has him at his mercy.
  • The Lancer: Kerim Bey, to Bond.
  • Latex Perfection: A part of the opening to show that the Bond that Grant just killed was actually live practice.
  • MacGuffin: The Lektor.
  • Made of Iron: Klebb tests Grant by punching him in the abdomen with brass knuckles. He doesn't even flinch.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Grant disposes of Karim Bey and a Russian agent by making it look like they killed each other. Bond and Tatiana's death is supposed to look like a Murder-Suicide, but (fortunately) the psychopathic Grant gets too caught up in making Bond beg for his life.
  • Mooks: The Bulgars for the KGB, the gypsies and Karim's sons for MI-6, and black-clad vaguely Germanic mooks for SPECTRE.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Bond himself, of course, appears shirtless as he prepares for a shower and has no fewer than three love scenes throughout the movie. Grant as well, who appears in a towel as he relaxes at SPECTRE's training center.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Gypsy women who have a catfight and the belly dancer are purely for the male audience's viewing pleasure.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: SPECTRE.
  • Nonindicative Name: None of the film is actually set in Russia. The plot itself is made to look like a Soviet one, but is actually devised by the supranational SPECTRE. Tatiana Romanova is Russian, and even then, when we meet her, she's working in Istanbul.
  • Noodle Incident: Bond is about to reveal something embarrassing involving M while he was in Tokyo. M immediately pauses the recording and excuses Moneypenny from the room.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Klebb gives Tatiana the choice of either participating in her honey trap of James Bond, or get shot.
  • One Last Smoke: Defied Trope — Grant's not that stupid. However, when Bond tells him he's willing to pay for it with the 50 gold sovereigns in his case, that grabs his attention.
  • Orient Express: How Bond, Tatiana, and Karim Bey make their escape from Istanbul with the LEKTOR. Also features the first of several fights that Bond has on a train.
  • Panty Shot: Tatiana Romanova uncrosses her legs briefly while being briefed by Rosa Kleb.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: A SPECTRE mook does this while dropping grenades on Bond from a helicopter. Another mook is flying the aircraft, but for some reason he needs to have a grenade in each hand.
  • Pistol Pose
  • Plunger Detonator: Karim Bey uses one to blow a hole in the floor of the Russian embassy so Bond and Tatiana can escape.
  • Product Placement: Of an interesting sort: Bond snipes Krilencu as the latter tries to escape by climbing from a hatch hidden inside the teeth of Anita Ekberg on a billboard for Call Me Bwana, a movie that Albert R. Broccoli produced.
  • Psycho for Hire:
    • Grant is described by Morzenzy as a homicidal paranoic.
    • Krilencu kills for pleasure.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Implied with Klebb when she caresses Tatiana's hair while saying "a labour of love". Quite explicit in the novel, where Kronsteen notes that she has "overcome the sex instinct," and can have a lover tortured to death just as easily as a stranger; and her effort to seduce Tanya sends the latter fleeing from the room.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: One of the all-time classic examples of this trope.
  • Red Scare
  • Revised Ending: The original novel had Bond struck by Rosa Klebb's poison-stained stiletto and brought to what was his death until Ian Fleming wrote Dr. No (Where it was revealed that the people with him were able to keep him alive until a doctor could be summoned). The film has him survive and has Tatiana do away with Klebb, and ends with Bond and Tatiana riding triumphantly down Venice's Grand Canal. This was arguably for the better, to avoid a maudlin Downer Ending. Besides which: Since Dr. No was the first Bond film, and M ordered Bond at the beginning of the film to replace his Beretta with the Walther PPK because of the Beretta jamming up on him (in an unseen incident that caused Bond to get injured), Bond didn't have the Beretta in the film version of From Russia With Love anyway.
  • Room Disservice: Rosa Klebb's last gambit to kill Bond and steal the code machine is to disguise herself as a hotel maid.
  • Same Language Dub: Daniella Bianchi's dialogue (as Tatiana Romanova) was overdubbed by Barbara Jefford to hide her thick Italian accent.
  • Sequel: The film is one to Dr. No, as Kronsteen mentions the death of Dr. No, and SPECTRE itself appears after being mentioned by No in the latter film. Also, Sylvia Trench reappears for a due romantic picnic with Bond.
  • Serendipitous Survival: Kerim Bey survives Krilencu's first assassination attempt, a bomb planted on the exterior wall of his office near his desk, because his girlfriend pulled him away from said desk for a make-out session mere seconds earlier.
  • She's Got Legs: Bond is using a periscope installed under the Soviet embassy to spy on a meeting inside, when Tatiana enters. He can't see her face from his angle, but what he can see impresses him greatly.
    Karim Bey: How does she look to you?
    James Bond: Well from this angle, things are shaping up nicely.
  • Shoe Phone: This film is the first to have gadgets, although they are rather mundane compared to later versions. Specifically, the tear-gas bomb disguised as a tin of talcum powder, and Rosa Klebb's shoe-dagger. Grant has a wire garotte hidden inside his watch.
  • Shooting Gallery
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: While flirting with Moneypenny, Bond says, "Once more into the breach, dear friends".
  • Slipping a Mickey: Grant puts chloral hydrate in Tatiana's drink.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Kronsteen, who is a literal chessmaster. Chess journalist George Koltanowski said that Kronsteen was based on USSR Grandmaster Paul Keres. He probably derives his name from synthesis with another Soviet Grandmaster, David Bronstein.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Tatiana lights up after sleeping with Bond on the train.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Downplayed. Bond shoots the co-pilot of the helicopter trying to kill him. The shot itself isn't anywhere near enough to bring it down on its own, but the fact that the co-pilot was holding a primed grenade at the time causes the helicopter to explode.
  • So Much for Stealth: Grant breaking a twig during the Action Prologue — in a subversion, he picks up the twig and snaps it deliberately, presumably to get his target moving towards him.
  • Spy School: The SMERSH training academy.
  • Spy Speak: Exchanged between Bond and one of Kerim's sons when he arrives in Istanbul.
  • Supervillain Lair: SPECTRE Island.
  • Super Wrist-Gadget: Long before Bond himself began wearing Omega watches with all kinds of cool functions, Red Grant wears a watch with a garrotte wire concealed in the winding mechanism.
  • Surprise Checkmate: The Chessmaster Kronsteen doesn't quite manage checkmate, but his opponent has his king pinned down to a single square. He sees that it's hopeless and surrenders. This is partly in the interest of realism; at the grandmaster level (and well below that) nobody gets checkmated. A decent player always knows when to resign. To do otherwise is considered boorish.
  • Swarm of Rats: Appears as Bond escapes from the embassy in the sewers.
  • Terrifying Pet Store Rat: Averted. Because of difficulties getting the right reactions from tame rats, the production ended up using real wild rats — described in marketing materials as "ferocious and disease-ridden" — caught in the sewers of Madrid.
  • Title Drop: Bond writes "From Russia, with love" on the photo of Tatiana that he gives to Moneypenny. The title is also heard in the song 'From Russia With Love' (sung by Matt Munro) which can be heard playing on the radio when Bond first appears in the film.
  • Tranquil Fury: Bond's reaction to the death of Kerim Bey. Notable in the fact that it is one of the few times we ever see Bond mad at all.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Kronsteen devises his trap with the obvious implication that it is a trap, saying that the British always view a trap as a challenge.
  • Unbuilt Trope: The film was made before the conventions of the series had become rote, and as such has a very different feel to later Bond films. The big Trope Codifier for the Bond films was the next film: Goldfinger.
  • Undignified Death: "The first one won't kill you...nor the second...nor even the third. Not 'til you crawl over here and you kiss my foot!"
  • Video Inside, Film Outside: During an external shot of Venice, a preemptive reference appears to the Monty Python sketch;
    Tatiana: Behave yourself, James! We're being filmed...
  • Villainous Breakdown: Rosa Klebb, who was mostly calm throughout the movie, is a desperate wreck when she fights Bond. Justified in that if she fails to kill Bond and get the Lektor, she'll end up like Kronsteen.
  • Villainous Rescue: A knife-wielding Bulgar charges up behind Bond, only to be shot dead by Grant who's watching from a distance.
  • When Harry Met Svetlana: One of the earliest and best-loved examples, and likely Trope Codifier. Bond goes in to exfiltrate a beautiful Russian crypto tech who wants to defect with a code machine.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Averted (or rather, unbuilt): Bond's gear is nothing like as outlandish as it would become in later films. The most "gadgety" equipment he has is the suitcase, containing hidden strips of gold coins, a knife, a disassembled rifle that (except for the too-small infrared sight) is available commercially, a Suicide Pill (In the novel, anyway - and Bond threw it out. No mention of it is made in the film) and a tear gas booby trap, all of which are multipurpose and could be used in nearly any mission, not just one specially written for the gadget.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Bond is very willing to hit Tatiana when he thinks she has something to do with the death of Kerim Bay.
  • You Have Failed Me: Kronsteen, who ends up becoming the first henchman killed by his boss of the series.
    • The use of this trope started out more as a subversion as it was made to look like Rosa Klebb was to be executed for her failure. Even more so, her tone made it sound like she was ready to pay the price for her failure.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Stated by Red Grant to Bond on the train. The only reason SPECTRE kept Bond alive up to that point was for him to get the Lektor, and with it within their grasp, Bond and Tatiana are now expendable (That and the fact that the half the point of the mission was to kill Bond in a way that would embarrass MI-6, which Grant was now set up to do). Unfortunately for SPECTRE, things don't go as planned.